WTF is EcoSexuality?
This article was originally written in May 2013 in response to people’s questions about the then upcoming original Surrender: An EcoSexual Convergence, a three day event held in June 2013. This original article was extensively edited including the additions of two co-authors and published in the book EcoSexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love. The First Surrender event had such a great turn out that the event expanded from 3 days to 5 days and happened yearly from June 2014 -June 2017.
What’s Sexuality Got to do With Ecology or WTF is EcoSexuality?
Rev. Teri D. Ciacchi, MSW; Rev. Sarah Heartsong, MA; and Christina Dietrich
EcoSexuality is about honoring the divine sexual nature of our planet and of us as part of the interconnected web of all existence. –Sarah Heartsong
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. –Albert Einstein
New Ways of Thinking
Our current and shared reality presents us with an unprecedented number of interrelated problems, whose combined trajectories include the possibility for the unprecedented destruction of species and habitat. The urgency of this situation calls for myriad and complex solutions that are grounded in ways of “thinking” perhaps wholly unlike anything you’re familiar or even comfortable with. Our collective thinking must change so that it emphasizes many differing types of intelligence and combines those with more holistic states of consciousness. In other words, our language and our ways of “knowing” need to evolve if we are to generate new cultures and societies that will sustain our final chapters on this beautiful, still verdant planet.
The thinking we’ve been handed by our dominant capitalist culture is that the Earth is an inert ball of minerals and resources, provided for humans to exploit in whatever way The Market sees fit, turning it into a literal trash heap. Alongside this childish, short-sighted perspective on physical resources, we’ve been taught to believe the world is full of things that come in pairs, necessarily setting them up in opposition to one another: man and woman, penis and vagina, black and white, rich and poor, animal and human, nature and God, embodiment and transcendence…ad infinitum. This creates a default perspective of demand and lack (if he has something I get nothing) and it sets us up to destroy not only ourselves, but our sole source of survival: the planet.
Changes in our thinking, changes in our in consciousness, and changes in our language are required if we’re serious about actually stopping this genocide of our existence. We agree with the Buddhist teacher and scholar, Reginald A. Ray, that the Earth is an awake, life-filled, enlightenment-being entity, which the Buddhists call Bodhisattva, who is reaching out to us and supporting us as we struggle to evolve to bring forth an embodied experience of Love for all Life. With this understanding all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, are capable of experiencing a sense of communion with each other and extending that into the natural world through connection and communion with the Living Earth. Intentionally and intelligently increasing our felt experience of connection with Nature and Its divine seat in us is a useful path forward in changing worldviews and shifting to a space where significant positive change can emerge.
Sex, Gender… EcoSexual!
How we think about sex, gender, and biology is relevant to and informs our ability to solve the complex and interrelated problems of Earth’s ecological devastation. If we accept the premise that we are all part of an interconnected web of existence, then our personal experience with this web represents our relationship with our Earth. At core, the Earth’s fundamental truth is that creative life force energy IS sexual energy, whether used in an act of procreation or not. Therefore the meanings we assign to sex, genitalia, gender, and sexual expression are core components of the paradigms that we need to shift if we want to survive.
Sex and Birth are connected because of the biological relationship between human reproduction and what we have constructed socially as “sex.” More simply put, it is a biological fact that one ovum must combine with one sperm in a suitable environment for a zygote to develop into a fetus and be born as a new human. While this is a description of reproduction it is not a description of sex. What IS sex? Very few people actually agree on what sex is.
In the dominant culture, the meaning of sex is most commonly collapsed to indicate “penis in vagina” experiences for the purpose of procreation or recreation. In the wider US society, when one man with a penis and one woman with a vagina connect these genitalia then “sex” is what is occurring. This procreative-focused definition extremely limits the actual expression of human sexual behavior and activities. In pornography and erotica there are unlimited variations of ways people have sex recreationally, yet still this does not capture fully the essence of a holistic definition of human “sex”. These limited biologically driven understandings of “sex”, as procreative or recreational only, are not what “ecosexuality” is all about.
An ecosexual definition of sex goes beyond these and counts at least three forms of sex: for procreation, recreation, and most importantly, for communion. Sex also provides a shift in human consciousness. Sex for communion deepens levels of intimacy and connection through sharing the touch of bodies and emotions. Consensual sex with other human beings, regardless of gender, creates experiences of closeness and unity. This kind of sex can generate a sense of being a part of the interconnected web of all life. It is this third realm of sexuality, the experience of communion, which is extended to other life forms, that EcoSexuals focus on.
EcoSexuality is not about physical penetration with genitalia; it’s about having deeply intimate, loving connections with people who choose to share a space of vulnerability and empowerment. Because EcoSexuals have chosen to have an adult relationship with the Earth, this sometimes results in their choosing to exchange energetic/erotic connections with one another in naturally-influenced or even outdoor settings. EcoSexuals might benefit from a sensual walk through Nature, drinking in the Beauty and Pleasure of a sunset touching the clouds and coloring them with a rainbow while being tickled by the Wind moving through their hair. An EcoSexual worldview expands understanding of sexuality in a way that moves humanity to be in greater loving relationship with our Earth and all Earth’s creations.
A Rite of Passage
If one views/experiences/knows the Earth as a living being, a Bodhisattva, who cares for us through the act of creation, bringing us pleasure through sensual experiences of Nature and with whom humans are constantly in communion, then it is possible to see how we could view her as both mother and lover. As people raised in a predominantly patriarchal, puritanical, consumer-driven, disembodied, short-sighted, childish world, it’s incredibly confrontational and uncomfortable for us to consider this. We haven’t been exposed to or educated about having an adult relationship with our fellow humans, much less with the Earth our collective Mother and Lover. It is actually much easier to stay child-like in our interactions with Her, remaining in the space of Earth as Mother. EcoSexuality now becomes a rite of passage into an adult relationship with our Mother Earth who is also the Lover, a transformation She experienced through the embodiment and manifestation of Her Sexual Energy.
Remember the moment when you realized that your mother had sex…that she was a sexual being? Many people find it difficult to reconcile that fact with what they know of the mother persona. However, this realization has no cultural relevance to people who are raised without the worldview that sex is unnatural, dirty, and sinful; only to be conducted in dark, hidden spaces; and not to be seen by anyone. These typical Western beliefs separated Nature from God. Everything made by Nature, anything naturally creative, was deemed to be bad or nasty or something “nice” people didn’t do.
As we see it, a big problem in Western society is that the dominant culture doesn’t like to think about Mother Fucking; in fact, motherfucker is one of the Seven Dirty Words according to comedian George Carlin. So, here comes an EcoSexual who says, “we’re moving into a relationship with the Earth as a lover rather than mother” and someone from the mainstream culture (who thinks mother fucking is bad, sinful, or repulsive) has absolutely zero positive context in which to respond. In fact, they’re going to think the EcoSexual is crazy. Or depraved. Possibly both.
Earth as Mother is beautiful and delightful; She nurtures and cares for us, makes sacrifices for us. And we really, REALLY like that, being narcissistic creatures by nature. However, if we continue to act like spoiled children abusing the Mother and taking Her sacrifices and gifts for granted, we miss our chance to be reciprocal, to balance our karma and to grow as people. We miss our opportunity to embrace Her as a Lover and move into an adult relational space, both with Her and with ourselves. We might even miss out on her gifts if they go away due to exploitation and abuse.
Embracing the lover aspect of the Earth is a form of valuable biofeedback helping us to heal and sustain the Earth. Neuroscientists and traditional cultures from all over the world show how humans can use language to make new neural grooves between stimulus and what is thought of, what is done, as a result. By consciously changing concepts in our minds we start to act differently in our world, which influences others to act and think differently as those who are connected with us in this web of life witness/experience us and our newly developed behaviors. Because corporations are composed of humans, the worldviews of the humans who run them are really important, as are changing the worldviews of as many humans as possible to spread as much positive social programming and influence as possible. Knowing Earth as Lover helps to reprogram the mind to a more responsible and mature relationship with the planet, which calls for reciprocity and acts of love and generosity toward Her and all her Natural Beauty.
EcoSexuality now makes it okay to embrace the sexual nature of ecology, in ourselves and our communities, human and nonhuman alike. Nature is beautiful and sexual. Our bodies are beautiful and sexual extensions of Nature, so EcoSexuals find freedom and nourishment by expressing sensual play in and with Nature, and by communing with the natural state of our bodies and the bodies of others to whom we are drawn for sensual play. EcoSexuals seek to live wholly, sustainably, and sexually—while loving ourselves and the Earth, and appreciating our mutually-responsible, adult relationships with our community as well as our Lover, Mother Earth.
Surrender: The EcoSex Convergence
Surrender: The EcoSex Convergence is a gathering of wild souls in the sensual prayer of life. Now in it’s 2nd year, On June 12–16th we will gather in the woods on private land to celebrate the beauty of our bodies and share our love for the Earth. We will build community through the identity of ecoSexuality. The weekend’s activities will include rituals, organic foods, facilitated group sensual experiences, and educational ecoSexual workshops.
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